This interview is also available in Japanese
Any.Do is a to-do list app that got started back in 2010 in Isreal, now with an office also in San Francisco. The company has raised $4.5 million in total through funding from Genesis Partners, Innovation Endeavors and Bloomberg Capital. Its total users surpassed five million in May of 2013, and its rapid growth has attracted much attention. We recently spoke to Any.do’s founder and CEO, Omer Perchik, as Japanese entrepreneur Kiyo Kobayashi continues his interview series in the San Francisco area.
Kobayashi: Could you give me a brief introduction about Any.Do?
Omer: Any.Do started as a simple task management app intended to increase productivity. The app is designed to let you turn every plan into a task, and then organize tasks so you can work on them creatively. That is the flagship app, Any.Do. […] We recently released new a calendar product called Cal, for both iOS and Android. The downloads are growing very fast. It is intended to help users create well-organized daily schedules.
We also wanted to connect it with our to-do list app, and designed it in such a way that users could easily recognize time available for additional activities and when they have important tasks. In addition to that, we added another feature named HeadsUp which helps manage appointments for meetings more efficiently and easily.
Kobayashi: Wow, so many features. Amazing.
Omer: Amazing, right? When you are at a meeting, you can take pictures of the whiteboard and record videos and sounds, and then easily e-mail them. You can also quickly add tasks to Any.Do.
Kobayashi: I found it interesting that an Israeli-born startup could build a globally successful app from San Francisco. What was the key for you guys?
Omer: I think the key is the team. In order to build a strong team, you need to share the mission with engineers, designers and everyone in the team and work together on that. If you can establish culture where all the members share the same mission and enjoy working together, the bond of the team won’t easily fall apart even in the midst of problems.
Kobayashi: So how do you build great teamwork?
Omer: If you can bring out the best of the person and let him or her be actively involved in the process of creating a product, that person feels there’s a certain area where only he can help. That motivates a person a lot. And if you can create a culture where everyone feels one they are the best at given a task, they can believe what they are doing is really changing the world. That’s why culture is so important, especially when each member has their own strength and special skill to work together on a problem.
Kobayashi: You came from Israel to Silicon Valley. What do you think about Japan?
Omer: I think Japan is the most advanced in a lot of aspects and at the same time one of the most difficult countries to expand to.
Kobayashi: I hear this a lot
Omer: That’s one reason why I am attracted by Japan. It’s a very interesting country. Japanese people have a totally different perspective than western people. In order to enter the Japanese market, we have to fully understand the mindset of Japanese people and their perspectives on productivity.
*Kobayashi: Are you willing to try the Japanese market if there is a chance for you to do so? *
Omer: I would like to visit Japan as soon as possible. I am very attracted to Japan, the people and the language. Japanese people have a unique point of view, and I found that very interesting. One of the main reasons I want to visit Japan is that I believe I can get a lot of new ideas from your culture and unique perspectives.
Kobayashi: I hope you can find some good opportunities. Thanks for your time today.
About the interviewer
KiyoKobayashi Kiyo launched his own business exporting food in 2004 while he was a university student, and succeeded in building new sales channels. In 2005, he founded In The Cup, a coffee e-commerce site. In 2009 he founded Nobot, and that company was subsequently acquired by KDDI in 2011. In December 2013, he founded Chanoma in the US. He is also a advisor for several VCs and startups, including The Bridge.